The return of the kaftan


If I needed to describe my dressing type as a season, it could be ‘Summer’, so it’s shocking that I solely found the kaftan after shifting to Dubai 5 years in the past. When the sea of billowing, lovely kaftans at iftars and suhoors made sense. So for my fist Eid right here I pulled out a kaftan that was really upcycled from a white chikan duputta my mother had purchased 20 years in the past—initially made for a seashore vacation, it was the good match as many of the kaftans worn in Dubai are Made in India. “Indian aesthetics have always appealed to the Middle Eastern market, and the quality and finish of the kaftans that come from India are comparable to those by international design houses and better priced,” says Dubai based mostly Mukta Shahdadpuri aka The Style Circuit, who has hosted pop-ups for Tarun Tahiliani, Shivan and Narresh and Anushka Khanna. Dubai-based influencer Rosemin Manji typically posts photos of herself in Delhi-based design studio D’Ascoli’s silk digital-printed kaftans and at Abu Dhabi’s Ataya (a landmark exhibition held previous to Ramadan underneath the patronage of HH Sheikha Shamsa Bint Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Nahyan), Anita Dongre’s stall is at all times a significant draw. For designers like Malini Ramani, Payal Singhal and Namrata Joshipura, regulars on the Dubai pop-up circuit, kaftans are at all times a powerful half of their line-up. But it isn’t simply Dubai; this breezy and forgiving gown is positioned for a comeback throughout the world, courtesy the pandemic.

Boho to ‘wedding-ready’

Singhal has included kaftans in her assortment since 2010 – her embroidered variations are suited to event put on, particularly these priced round ₹49,286 on her web site. She additionally has laid-back digital kaftan-tunics, made for seashore holidays (round ₹8,719) and notes that there was a surge in shoppers taking to the silhouette. At this time of the 12 months, as summer time is taking off, international designers from Gucci to Pucci have at all times highlighted the kaftan. After all, whereas its origins might be traced again to the Mesopotamian period, this silhouette first achieved excessive style standing in the Swinging 60s when Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Dior included it of their collections. Over a decade later, Elizabeth Taylor wore a Gina Fratini multi-colored, kaftan-style costume to her second marriage ceremony to Richard Burton. Perhaps following in her stylish footsteps, two years in the past Sonam Kapoor Ahuja turned to an ivory chikan kaftan by Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla for her marriage ceremony reception afterparty. Adding “new bride” glamour to its bohemian vibe, Bollywood’s favorite style lady layered it with uncut diamond neckwear. Jetsetters have pulled off the seashore to ballroom improve with the proper equipment. Beaded, steel or treasured jewelry – something goes, due to the kaftan’s unique persona. “I’m surprised more Indian designers have not looked at this style until recently, while international designers have them as wardrobe staples,” observes Singhal.

From superstar drawing rooms

Growing up, many of us might have seen our moms and grandmothers put on kaftans as housecoats. Perhaps the rise of resort put on as a class made the kaftan haute? Ask Malini Ramani, one of our first resort put on designers, for whom kaftans, jumpsuits and paréos are a staple. “Blending style, sophistication and comfort, it can be worn as sleepwear, on the beach or to a black-tie event. What could be more versatile?” she asks, additionally pointing to its recognition on this time of social distancing. It helps {that a} image of actor Kareena Kapoor Khan at residence in a block-printed yellow Masaba Gupta kaftan went viral, with style magazines instantly saying it “the coolest ‘at home’ outfit’’. Popular labels include Anupama Dayal, Shivan and Narresh and Anjali Patel’s Verandah, while couture darlings Sabyasachi and Anamika Khanna have given it a formal feel with craft-based embellishments and sequins. “Kaftans can also be paired with pants, which is one of my signature looks and a chic alternative to a kurta,” says Anjali Patel, referring to a different go-to #WFH silhouette.

From Malini Ramani’s collection

From Malini Ramani’s assortment  
| Photo Credit:
Malini Ramani

The improve

The kaftan is as, if no more, versatile than the kurta. Ramani is already full of concepts on how she will likely be taking this ‘destination’ important ahead: from new lengths, to including pockets, to matching them with masks and scarves. Verandah’s Anjali Patel additionally sees reinvention taking place round this form. Her label is understood for his or her classic oversize tackle the kaftan however now she is going to add extra structured shapes, and shorter, belted and maxi-dress types. Kaftan attire additionally characteristic in the much-anticipated H&M x Sabyasachi assortment, anticipated to drop at the finish of summer time. With a splash of daring, courtesy slits and different particulars, this type is inclusive, working for all styles and sizes, says Gupta, including, “The days of the kaftan being associated with a house gown are over. It will all change now. The house gown is the new runway gown!”

The author is a former editor, luxurious marketing consultant and writer.

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